She may have a European gold medal to her name, but 400m runner Seren Bundy-Davies will still be bringing up the rear at a parkrun in Manchester, on Saturday.
However, rather than experiencing a dramatic loss in fitness, the 22-year-old will be participating in UK Sport’s #teamparkrun event, acting as the ‘tail walker’, to ensure that – as is the parkrun ethos – no-one finishes last.
On August 19 UK Sport is encouraging National Lottery funded athletes to follow Bundy-Davies’ lead and be a tail walker at their local parkrun as a way of saying thank you to the millions of people who play the National Lottery each week and, in doing so, help fund elite sport in the UK.
Having just started training again following an Achilles injury which ruled her out for the season, Bundy-Davies will be out on the route at 9.00am on Saturday and highlighted the difference funding has made to elite sport in the UK.
“The National lottery has helped me progress from being a one-off international athlete who was borderline making teams, to be able to train and focus on my sport as a full-time occupation instead of something I hoped to do,” she said.
“Thanks to them, I’ve been able to train to the best of my ability. I was able to get a diagnosis for my injury really quickly and all the medical team at British Athletics have helped me get back on track and get back into training.”
Parkrun is a nationwide network of organised, free, 5km timed runs that take place every Saturday morning and encourage anyone, of any ability, to get active – with a volunteer tail walker, such as Bundy-Davies, at the rear to ensure no-one finishes last.
And while Bundy-Davies admits she has never been a long-distance runner, an active lifestyle is a must for her, and that the opportunity to be a tail walker was not one to pass up.
“I wouldn’t run 5k anyway because I’m a 400m runner, so it will be great to help encourage everyone to finish, if we’re walking it at the back,” she added.
The Welsh athlete will take part in the event buoyed by the recent success of the 4x400m women’s relay team at the World Championships in London last week, and admits that watching her teammates finish on the podium has motivated her to hit the ground running when she returns to competitions in September.
“I know how hard those girls have worked to be at that level and I know how much hard work they’ve put into it. I’ve been there myself so it’s given me more inspiration,” Bundy-Davies added.
“Being one of the young athletes in the relay team, it’s nice to look to the future and think, ‘If we’re achieving that now, four relay medals, hopefully we can maintain that for the next world championships.
“It’s great to know that when we come together, we’re good enough to win a medal, so that’s definitely an inspiration.”
To thank the public for their support through playing The National Lottery, Britain’s top athletes will volunteer as Tail Walkers at parkrun events across the UK on Saturday August 19. Everyone is welcome at parkrun – be part of it! www.teamparkrun.com
Image courtesy of Olympic via YouTube, with thanks.